(Plant City) Never doubt Jean Pascal’s lion heart. Even against an undefeated Chinese dragon that was said to be too big.
The boxer from Quebec (36-6-1, 20 K.-O.) offered a performance worthy of his best days to beat Chinese Meng Fanlong (17-1, 10 K.-O.), on Friday night in PlantCity. , a suburb of Tampa. A unanimous decision by the judges confirmed his victory, which was clear from the middle of the match.
We meet him behind the scenes at ProBox TV, a new streaming service dedicated to professional boxing. His team, his friends, his family are there. In the warm, humid room they chant “olé, olé, olé”, the same thing that was heard at the end of the fight.
“It’s proof that I’m a perseverer, stressed Pascal, sweating, in front of the Montreal media. I am a fighter Juan el Luchador. »
Because yes, the Quebecois came back from afar. It was his first fight in more than two years. This absence from the ring was, of course, prolonged by his positive tests for EPO and three other banned substances a year ago. He was suspended for six months, during which he also experienced depression and questioning of his boxing career.
I made the right decision. Me, I’m not a deserter. I do not give up. […] When I start work, I have to finish it.
We were invited to a gladiatorial battle. The enclosure, compact, was enhanced. The 200 or so assembled boxing enthusiasts got their money’s worth, with constant battle.
Meng started the clash strong, while Pascal was still studying him. The Chinese landed several good head shots. Some even quickly shook up the Quebec boxer.
Honestly, I was never shaken during the fight. It’s just that after almost three years out of the ring, he was a little rusty. But as the rounds went on, I took control. I felt that he was more tired than me.
Few ” Bored! those who were heard at the beginning of the engagement quickly fell silent.
By the third round, it looked like Meng’s 6’2″ reach and size were going to be too much for Pascal. The Lavallois had to force a hand-to-hand fight.
What he started to do in the room round. With rapid and resounding success.
Adrenaline visibly on the mat, he wouldn’t let go. Her blows sometimes lacked precision. The opposite of Meng. The Chinese shot less in volume, but hit the target.
Meng had won the first few rounds. But Pascal’s ardor was proof of everything from then on. A contagious energy, which cast a spell over the crowd. The “olé, olé, olé” were heard. They almost buried the strident screams of Angel, daughter of Jean Pascal.
“Before the fight, I thought I was probably going to stop him,” Pascal said with the frankness we know him from. But he was much stronger than he thought. Kudos to him. I understand why he had 17 wins and zero losses. »
“Seventeen wins and one loss,” corrects one of his friends.
His trainer, Orlando Cuellar, praised Pascal’s fire in training, which allowed him to have energy late in the fight when Meng obviously had no energy. The latter also fell three times during the 12 rounds, but only one knockdown was recorded.
“It shows how hard we trained for this fight,” said the Floridian. What he felt tonight is what he felt in training.
They took him through hell. Tonight, this hell was familiar to him. He managed to delve into himself and stay focused.
Orlando Cuellar, coach of Jean Pascal
And now ?
“I want Quebec fans to come back to the Bell Center or Place Bell,” Pascal said. I want you to come and cheer on a boxer from Quebec. »
A balanced billboard
What the undercard of featured fighters lacked, it made up for by providing an interesting level of boxing and spectacle. The second matchup of the evening, in particular, had the crowd gasping several times. The American Jusiyah Shirley (6-0, 4 KOs) -young and fiery- won by dominating the Mexican Miguel Pérez Aispuro (12-13-2, 8 KOs). The latter nevertheless allowed himself to constantly taunt his opponent, smiling on his face. He still lost by unanimous decision. The first four fights on the card reached the limit, a sign of balanced duels. Texan Kendo Castaneda (17-5, 8 K.-O.) signed the first – and only – K.-O. of the evening, in the first round of his fight against Sonny Fredrickson (21-6, 14 KOs).
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